Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Anatomy of a Fantasy Football Champion

Is there anything better than winning a fantasy football championship? Of course there is. Sex, for one. Pizza, also. Getting all 120 stars in a Mario game, sure. Seeing Sonic Youth live, no doubt--just so long as the date isn't August 17th.

That said, finishing a Fantasy season triumphant is the dogs balls. It's immensely gratifying to see "1st place" or "league champion" next to the fantastic nickname you chose to represent your immaculately-selected gaggle of number-munchers.

My fellow SY head "Rob Instigator" has run a Yahoo-based fantasy league for seven years now, the last three featuring yours sincerely as the leader of "Snoopy's Smash Squad", a handle that evokes nothing less than the sublime visual of a coolly rabid beagle with a facemask-free helmet on his head and a chilled football in his hands, as he plows over some hapless would-be tacklers on his way to the end zone. My first year--2006--I finished in second place for the regular season and captured third overall, losing in the semis to my boyfriend (arguably the Charlie Brown-iest moment of my life so far. And then he promptly gave up on the whole fantasy racket, complaining it was "too taxing". What a friggin' pussy.)

In 2007, I ended the regular season in third, and felt I would just sashay my big ass to the big dance. In a turn of events that should be minor legend in the Fantasy universe, the top four seeds lost their first round matchups, and the eighth seed overall ended up taking top honors. Meanwhile my ass finishes seventh of ten.

I entered the 2008 Fantasy Football world with Lincoln-esque determination. The year before I had the top pick in the live draft and didn't even make the semis. For '08 I got sixth--and there were ten players again in the league. My first pick was Patriots megabeast receiver Randy Moss. By draft's end, I could sit back and gaze with parental pride at what I just knew would be the most powerful Squad incarnation yet. I had two studs at QB: Tony Romo and Philip Rivers. In addition to Moss, I acquired Chris Chambers, a former Dolphin who I figured could sneak up on a lot of defenses. Other than Antonio Gates at tight end, Rivers didn't have a real go-to option through the air. Despite a suspension which would cause him to get ass-splinters for the first two games of the year, I could not pass on Steve Smith of the Panthers. To help the cause, though, I snatched up dependable Derrick Mason.

Tight end, being such a notoriously scatter-pointed (and thus ulcer-inducing) position, was very much on my mind. I beat the other coaches to the punch in the draft and snapped up the first TE pick with Jason Witten. Santonio Holmes would serve well as my flex player, and no one as far as I could tell was fuckin' with Jones-Drew and Fatboy White as my dual RB corps. Just because I could, I took Rudi Johnson as my backup. And prayed devoutly for the health of my frontline.

The kicker is the party skank of your team, so not only is that position undrafted mostly, but is unquestionably the most interchangeable. Of course this year we had some tardboy who couldn't be there at his comp for the live action, so he pre-set his players for the system to pick for him as they became available. Which is not what makes him a tardboy. That would be selecting Adam Vinateri in the fourth round. How the hell do you pre-set a kicker? You could kinda tell dude's season was gonna be cow crap mixed with hog maw after that. I ended up getting Josh Scobee off the wire just 'cause I had to get somebody.

For my first two romps in the Instigator park I used the vaunted Baltimore defense. This year, though, I really believed in my Vikings. I bought into all that shit about their stupendous defense, how it wasn't just gonna be stopping the run this year, hell no, they're gonna be shuttin' down some passin' game too! However, I noticed as the draft wound down that none of my fellow coaches had snatched up the other purple team. So, out of tradition and seeing so many of their games on local TV that I actually know first-hand what they're capable of, I got the Ravens as a back up.

Like kickers, defensive players are also sluts, unless you stumble upon a super stud that you want all to yourself. To further display my Purple Pride, I selected Jared Allen. Then Phillips, then Ekuban, and finally Atogwe, mainly 'cause I dug the name. Which is as close to stereotypical "girl coaching" as you'll ever catch me doing.

(Being a female coach in Fantasy Football is really no big deal. Being a female coach who directs her team with intelligence, cunning and guile--thereby making her a certified "boach"--is the best deal. Even when the dudes you compete with act like they're not fazed, they quite fucking are. A few philistine leagues still ban women, well aware of the admonition given by Cato the Censor way back in 215 B.C.: "Suffer women once to arrive at an equality with you, and they will from that moment become your superiors.")

Now let's take a look, week by week, at my championship season.

Week 1

Green Bowl Packers 70.62
Snoopy's Smash Squad--68.97

Each of the previous Week 1's I walked away from my glowing screen victorious, convinced that a 1-0 start was the ultimate rabbits foot for the season ahead.

So of course I lost my first match this year.

My opponent was another Sonic Youth fan I knew via the Interweb (although he's a sight more than an SY fan; he's one of the most ecumenical fans of music I've ever encountered). He had a good lineup, but I felt super confident. Romo did get his points, but should have put up even better numbers versus the Brownies. Even with Tom Brady gone for the whole year with a poetic knee injury, Moss got over 100 yards and a score. The pickup of Chris Chambers proved fortuitous as well.

To be a successful Fantasy coach you really need your backs to be productive. So LenDale White's touchdown and 40 yards total (the most he can run at one time without vomiting, incidentally) was tempered by Maurice Jones-Drew's 2.50. Holmes let me down badly; sub 1 is never anything but sucking spermwhale wang. And Minnesota lost their first game of the season. To Green Bay.

The only thing shitter than my point total was the fact that I lost by less than two points! It was the TE and flex positions that really did me in. Then I scoured my bench afterwards and saw I'd sat Atogwe and thus lost out on nearly six points. Oh, and Rivers, my backup QB? 24.68 points with 3 TD's.

Week 2
Snoopy's Smash Squad 98.00
The Glass Wrath 52.63

The rebound was quick, with a smashing of some fucktard who would quickly lose his heart for Internet coaching. Romo delivered with over 24 points and Chambers scored yet again. The effects of a Brady-less Pats hurt Moss, but both of my backs scored, creating that numerical symmetry that us FF types dig like bacon-fried bacon. Witten attained 100 yards receiving, which is really like 200 yards for a tight end.

As far as Rudi Johnson at flex--it was only week 2. I had no inkling that the Lions were destined for historical suckassness and that their players (save for their party skank) were to be shunned like the works of Jack Kerouac from my bookshelves.

I noticed Rivers got over 30 points. And I remember feeling proud that I had two studs, in case one got injured. But...was I starting the premium stud?

As for Ass Bath, a good rule of thumb is that any time your quarterback finishes with less than a single point you will lose. (We hadn't received the office memo about Browns players, either.) And when you have a receiver with no points? That means you fell prey to the sophomore slump and picked Colston! Also his TE put up the goose egg. And two of his defensive guys didn't even suit up.

Week 3
Snoopy's Smash Squad 101.52
Sonic Life 82.67

Whupping the commish is awesome like riding a Super Monkey Ball over steaming hot lava, 'cause he's the dude making your glory possible and you get to show him up. Understand that Rob did not lose this game. I won. Five positions garnered 10-plus points, including exactly 30 from my backs combined and a stab-happy 20 from the Ravens. I also picked up Chris Gamble for D.

And yeah...Rivers doubled up on Romo again. How much longer could I let ol' Marmalard kill it on the pine?

Week 4
Snoopy's Smash Squad 115.15
Blindbandits 53.75

Blindbandits is a Fantasy pro, and a multiple winner in Rob's league. This gave him the balls required to dis my ass with some inspired pre-game smack talk that referenced my gender and my Snoopy fetish. So naturally I destroyed his ass. Double up, like that bullshit Mase album.

Romo lost to the Skins, but still managed 3 TD's and over 300 yards. Rivers beat the Raiders, but only got eight points. That's how important real life scores are to Fantasy.

I decided to christen my backs 8Ball & MJD.

Week 5
Devilsluts 115.07
Snoopy's Smash Squad 91.37

It was poor Devilsluts who'd drafted Brady in the first round. But he picked up Delhomme and trudged onward. Slutty is Rob's bro, and he sucks, pretty much. That's why this loss stung. Like on some "Devilsluts bit my bottom! Now my bottom's big!" type nonsense.

I can't blame it on my decision to bench White for Johnson, 'cause they each fell under 2 points. Actually, LenWhale managed but 0.20 points. Other than that, my squad was straight antihistamine money, homey. I just couldn't beat a team with two receivers who go over 10 and a back that racks up 23. Reggie Bush, what a numbnuts.

Week 6
Snoopy's Smash Squad 106.70
Son of a Bookie 77.88

Cracking the century mark again, and how good it felt. Like cunnilingus good.

If I am to reflect upon the actual head-to-head, however, it was a bittersweet victory. Like an elephant crushing a flea circus. Guy had over 12 points from a receiver and a combined 31 and a half from his backs (including that brittle shitface Portis). But he forgot that his TE and a Defensive Back were on a bye! And then another DB slot is empty just 'cause he forgot to fill it, just like he never fills a vagina.

Starting Minnesota's D against Detroit over Balto's D facing Indy was my move of the week. But what the hell was I thinking, leaving Atogwe on the bench still? He put up eleven points!

Week 7
Snoopy's Smash Squad 116.38
Les Existentialistes 55.65

Romo's injury forced me to start Rivers--who promptly puts up 11.88 in a loss to the Bills who at this point were still not entirely naked in the eyes of the NFL.

My decision to fill a WR slot with a return guy--just like Cribbs last year--backfired. A Jags bye week meant one more week of Rudi Johnson's woeful incompetence, but the Space Age Pimp scored three times and made a happy boach indeed.

I have now decided that Balto must be my main defense. I love the Vikes, but they're not the purple sage to ride. More to that end, I dropped Jared Allen.

Week 8

Snoopy's Smash Squad 118.37
Dildoughnuts 109.70

This was the match of the year for the regular season. I had only two losses and sat in second, underneath only Dildobreath, who was undefeated. If anybody could take his smug ass down, it was the boach. My team fucking brought it: Rivers 27+, Smith near 20, Moby Prick over 12, and Balto's D in double digits yet again. Even Return Guy scored to justify his flex spot.

Dildo damn near stole it away on the Monday night game with Rob Bironas kicking his way to 16 points, but luckily Fat Boy found the end zone twice to save me. Good job, Lard Lad--I owe you a Mountain Dew.

This game marked the point where these fuckboys had to recognize me as a general in this shit. I even added Ray Lewis because I could.

Week 9
Alief Street Frogs 99.60
Snoopy's Smash Squad 76.73

Hanging around the upper echelon was ASF. Letdown was inevitable.

With Romo nursing a boo-boo and San Diego on a bye, I chanced it with the Jags' David Garrard (he's no Byron Leftwich, but at least he's playing). Well, he sucked. No TD's, 1 pick and three sacks against the Bengals. Moss sucked too, although seeing the Pats lose to the Colts is always hilarious. Blame Wes Welker for that.

My running backs are taking turns being studs. Oh that's wonderful, that.

In the what the fuck moment of the season, I benched Witten for Bo Sciafe. His 1.30 was a full half point better than what the bench-bound 'Boy managed. What a fuckin' position tight end is.

New kicker! Pass 'em around....

None of which stood a chance against Kurt Warner's own private Arena-ho, Eddie fucking Royal, and a ten point game from the Redskins kicker. Oh man...that hurt. (It's much funnier hearing that in Alex Rocco's voice.)

Bye week really kicked my ass.

Week 10
Snoopy's Smash Squad 106.98
Green Bowl Packers 76.35

Revenge is a dish best served al dente.

Week 11
Snoopy's Smash Squad 71.37
The Glass Wrath 63.00

This was too close. Oh the ethereal nature of crap shoot glory.

Romo returned, but I was skeptical and rode Rivers--against the Steelers. Romo ended up with eight more points. Out of print.

New kicker!

Week 12
Snoopy's Smash Squad 130.52
Sonic Life 103.57

Commish tried hard...aww, Commish always tries hard! But I had Romo, Moss and the D all over 20. MJD and JLH each over 10. *cues "Bridge is Over"*

But, again, Rob coulda beat anybody else that week. Pennington beasted, AP was AD, and hell even his kicker beat the ass of my kickers, inasmuch as the pussiest player on any given team can beat another team's pussy. But he faced the Squad. Story over.

Week 13
Snoopy's Smash Squad 115.93
Blindbandits 96.18

This fucker again.

Once more Romo surpassed 300 yards with 3 TDs. Unbelievably, my promotion of Derrick Mason pays off and WideAss White finds the end zone twice, thanks to some strategically-placed Carl's Jr. burgers.

Can't believe I sat Witten. Only got 115 yards and a score. As for the BB pellets, if only two of his guys hadn't thrown shutouts, he mighta pulled it off. Must be fucking awesome to lose when a player gets 30 points, huh, BB?!

(Before we go on to the next week, I would like to apologize for the baseball metaphor in the previous paragraph. Because if this week has taught us anything, it's that baseball fucking sucks and fuck the Yankees and MLB get a fucking salary cap because your sport is becoming a goddamn joke that a consecutive games streak won't be able to "save" this time. Idiots. Those ridiculous contracts look real good to the public in a recession, you sickening wads of vomitous fuck.

Can you imagine playing Fantasy Baseball? 162 games! I'd rather play Fantasy Chess or some nonsense.)

Week 14
Snoopy's Smash Squad 101.95
Devilsluts 68.92

Again I serve up a plate that would make the offerings on this season of Top Chef look awesome, thanks quite much to a top-heavy roster for my opponent. I started Romo against Pitt's crazed D, because Rivers was facing Oakland again--and he did quite piss-poor in the initial meeting. So of course he bombs their secondary for 26.08 Fantasy points. Football, you drive me crazy!

Pleasant surprise--Mason with another score. Really, Flacco didn't have much else.

New kicker! The Pats dude.

Week 15
Snoopy's Smash Squad 111.38
Blindbandits 76.57

11-3, ranked first overall, and in the playoffs. My third tete-a-tete with BB pellets is the most crucial yet, and he choked like Mama Cass didn't. Whew! I mean other than Turner, damn. That shit just makes you wanna crack screens.

Starting Rivers at KC was disastrous until he engineered an unbelievable fourth quarter comeback that had me gaping at the TV like I was about to accept a long-distance wadshot. Add in some boss catching numbers and another trip to the Cribbs well, and I could not help but destroy.

Bonehead move of the week--picking up Robert Mathis and his ass doesn't even play!

Week 16
Snoopy's Smash Squad 122.00
Dildoughnuts 87.90

Dildo beat ASF in the other semi matchup, and it could only be that way. We were the best two teams all year, and he desperately wanted to avenge his first loss of the year. I feared him, mainly due to Brees playing the Lions. I could just feel the 40-ness creeping up on me. But I had to put together the best team I could with what I had available. I thought, If I cannot win right here right now--cue the Van Halen and I'll wound you--I don't know if I have the heart to do this for another year.

My biggest sticking point was Saturday's Ravens-Cowboys game. As I don't get NFL Network, I'd have to depend on the Internet to drive me crazy with updates. I couldn't fully trust Philip Rivers against a stingy Bucs pass D, so I started Romo against my own defense. I started Witten (with fast-rising John Carlson on the bench) and picked up--on Saturday afternoon--faster-rising 'Boys back Tashard Choice. I had a real good vibe about Choice because Marion Barber was likely not going to suit up and Choice was riding a hot streak in the last couple games, including 100-plus cumulative yards against the Steelers.

It all paid off. Romo got 15 points thanks to late scores, Witten scored, and Choice ran in the first TD of the game.

The third receiver slot got run a train on for sure. I couldn't trust Cribbs, a return guy who may see some snaps at QB, may catch some passes, may run the ball. Randle El, shit no, I'm not trusting a Redskin in the most important game of my life. Between Mason and Holmes, I chose the latter, figuring Big Ben had a slightly better chance with his secondary matchup.

So Mason got a touchdown Saturday night and I about shit marble.

Another pickup was Sammy Morris, part of the Pats platoon of backs. I trusted him way more at home against Arizona than Moby against the Steel Curtain.

Come Sunday, I had a 20+ point lead on my opponent, and I never lost it. Holmes made a fantastic TD grab in an otherwise butt-ass game. Morris didn't score, but gained solid yards.

But then Rivers got 33 points against that "vaunted" pass defense and I'm like, fuck! Shit! Dildo had his backs playing 4 o'clock games, and my cynical mind could see Thomas Jones and Steve Slaton running roughshod over bullshit defenses.

But then something happened. The Grinch's heart grew three sizes that day! He went to Seattle and shat a bunch of snow upon the field! Merry Christmas, Jets! A field goal for your stocking! He visited the Texans and the Raiders and piled presents so high in the Texans end zones that not a ball could break the plane!

And Dildo's receivers? Calvin "Megatron" Johnson was straight cheeks! And Bernard Berrian, why children, he was mo' cheeks! And by Monday night, with Chicago's D needing to surpass forty points to win, Dildo knew he was done, and the mighty Smash Squad boach rejoiced even as the Bears win meant the Vikings could still blow the division lead.

I'm a winner...but some shit never changes.

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